My Little Sister's Jokes > List of Interesting Facts > Set: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

My Little Sister's Jokes is happily maintained
 by the Community of Emmitsburg, MD.

Help us build our joke and story bank.
E-mail us at: humor@emmitsburg.net


 
Interesting facts about life in the 1500's
  • Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and were still smelling pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the b.o.
  • Baths equaled a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually loose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
  • Houses had thatched roofs. Thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the pets ... dogs, cats and other small animals, mice, rats, bugs lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs."
  • There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up your nice clean bed. So, they found if they made beds with big posts and hung a sheet over the top, it addressed that problem. Hence those beautiful big 4 poster beds with canopies.
  • The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors which would get slippery in the winter when wet. So they spread thresh on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed at the entryway, hence a "thresh hold."
  • They cooked in the kitchen in a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They mostly ate vegetables and didn't get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been in there for a month. Hence the rhyme: peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.
  • Sometimes they could obtain pork and would feel really special when that happened. When company came over, they would bring out some bacon and hang it to show it off. It was a sign of wealth and that a man could really bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."
  • Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food. This happened most often with tomatoes, so they stopped eating tomatoes ... for 400 years.
  • Most people didn't have pewter plates, but had trenchers - a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Trencher were never washed and a lot of times worms got into the wood. After eating off wormy trenchers, they would get "trench mouth." 
  • Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the "upper crust."
  • Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a "wake."
  • England is old and small and they started running out of places to bury people. So, they would dig up coffins and would take their bones to a house and reuse the grave. In reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on their wrist and lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night to listen for the bell. Hence on the "graveyard shift" they would know that someone was "saved by the bell" or he was a "dead ringer."

Submitted by Andy, Gettysburg, Pa.
 

Return to: Top of Page, Interesting Facts List, My Little Sister's Jokes


More totally useless facts about life in England for you to know.
  • In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase "goodnight, sleep tight".
     
  • It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month or what we know today as the honeymoon.
     
  • In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's".
     
  • Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle" is the phrase inspired by this practice. 
     
  • In Scotland, a new game was invented entitled: Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden....and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.

Submitted by Larry, Bethesda, Md.
   

Return to: Top of Page, Interesting Facts List, My Little Sister's Jokes


These are the nominees for the Chevy Nova Award. 

This is given out in honor of GM's fiasco in trying to market this car in Central and South America. "No va" means, of course, in Spanish, "it doesn't go".

  • The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read "Are you lactating?"
  • Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer From Diarrhea."
  • Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."
  • Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the "Manure Stick."
  • When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what's inside, since many people can't read.
  • Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.
  • An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (elPapa), the shirts read "I Saw the Potato"(la papa).
  • Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese.
  • The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela", meaning "Bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax", depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent "kokou kole", translating into "happiness in the mouth."
  • Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate."
  • When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." The company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant!"
  • When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its "Fly In Leather" campaign literally, which meant "Fly Naked" (vuela en cuero) in Spanish!

Submitted by Paul, Middleburg, Va
  

Return to: Top of Page, Interesting Facts List, My Little Sister's Jokes


After nearly 15 years in orbit, the 140-ton Russian space station MIR 

. . .is scheduled to be destroyed in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean in late February. Until then, it will be visible as a brilliant, slowly-moving star in many parts of the world. Editors from Sky and Telescope magazine have generated look for MIR in 250 North American cities and 250 other selected cities around the world.

Sky and Telescope says the predictions below should be valid for anyone living within about 100 miles of a given city though the location of the spacecraft in the sky will differ; it will generally appear lower in the sky if the viewing direction is toward the listed city, higher if the direction is away from it. DUR indicates the length of each sighting in minutes; MAX ELEV is how high MIR will get above your horizon (90 is overhead). Look for your city in the list below, or go to Sky and Telescope's Web site, www.skypub.com, for a more complete list including other countries.
  

Return to: Top of Page, Interesting Facts List, My Little Sister's Jokes


Just in case you weren't feeling too old today ...

This will certainly change things. Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mind set of that year's incoming freshmen.

Here is this year's list:

  • The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1982.
  • They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan Era and probably did not know he had ever been shot.
  • They were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged.
  • Black Monday, 1987 is as significant to them as the Great Depression.
  • There has been only one Pope.
  • They have never feared a nuclear war.
  • They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
  • Tianamen Square means nothing to them.
  • Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
  • The expression "you sound like a broken record" means nothing to them.
  • They have never owned a record player.
  • They have likely never played Pac Man and have never heard of Pong.
  • They may have never heard of an 8 track.
  • The CompactDisc was introduced when they were 1 year old.
  • As far as they know, stamps have always cost about 33 cents.
  • They have always had an answering machine.
  • Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they seen a black-and-white TV.
  • They have always had cable.
  • There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what BETA is.
  • They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
  • They were born the year that Walkmen were introduced by Sony.
  • Roller-skating has always meant inline for them.
  • Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.
  • They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.
  • Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
  • They have never seen Larry Bird play.
  • They never took a swim and thought about "Jaws".
  • The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as WWI, WWII and the Civil War.
  • They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.
  • They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.
  • They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.
  • They never heard: "Where's the beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel", or "de plane, de plane".
  • They do not care who shot J. R., and have no idea who J. R. is.
  • The Titanic was found? They thought we always knew where it was. 
  • Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America, and Alabama are places, not groups.
  • McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers.
  • There has always been MTV.
  • They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.

Do you feel old yet?

Submitted by Andy, Gettysburg, Pa.
 

Return to: Top of Page, Interesting Facts List, My Little Sister's Jokes


More totally useless facts for you to know
  • The citrus soda 7-UP was created in 1929. "7" was selected because the original containers were 7 ounces. "UP" indicated the direction of the bubbles.
  • Mosquito repellents don't repel, they hide you. The spray blocks the mosquito sensors so they don't know you're there.
  • Dentists have recommended that toothbrushes be kept at least 8 feet away from toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.
  • The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as substitute for blood plasma.
  • American car horns beep in the tone of F.
  • No piece of paper can be folded more than 7 times.
  • Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.
  • 1 in every 4 Americans has appeared on television.
  • You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.
  • Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are 50 years of age or older.
  • The 1st product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.
  • The king of hearts is the only king without a mustache.
  • A Boeing 747's wingspan is longer than the Wright brother's 1st flight.
  • Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise.
  • The 1st CD pressed in the U S was Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA".
  • Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.
  • Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.
  • The 1st owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer.
  • Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  • Betsy Ross is the only real person to ever have been the head on a PEZ dispenser.
  • Michael Jordan makes more money from NIKE annually than all the NIKE factory workers in Malaysia combined.
  • Adolph Hitler's mother seriously considered having an abortion but was talked out of it by her doctor.
  • Marilyn Monroe had 6 toes.
  • All US presidents have worn glasses. Some just didn't like being seen wearing them in public.
  • Walt Disney was afraid of mice.
  • The sound of E.T. walking was made by someone squishing her hands in jelly.

Return to: Top of Page, Interesting Facts List, My Little Sister's Jokes


If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like this: 

There would be:

  • 57 Asians
  • 21 Europeans (14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north & south)
  • 8 Africans
  • 52 people would be female
  • 48 would be male
  • 70 would be non-white
  • 30 would be white
  • 70 would be non-Christian
  • 30 would be Christian
  • 6 would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth (and all 6
  • would be from the U.S.
  • 80 would live in substandard housing
  • 70 would be unable to read
  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition
  • 1 would be near death; 
  • 1 would be near birth
  •  1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education
  •  1 would own a computer

A TAD MORE . . .

  • If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world. If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed that three billion people in the world.
     
  • If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy. If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare, even in the U.S. and Canada.
  • If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed, because most of us can, but few do. If you can hold someone's hand, hug them, or even touch them on the shoulder, you offer healing, and are therefore blessed. If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing because someone is thinking of you, and because two billion people in the world cannot read at all.

Return to: Top of Page, Interesting Facts List, My Little Sister's Jokes


More totally useless stuff for you to know
  • The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time television were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
  • Coca Cola was originally green.
  • Every day more money is printed for monopoly than the US Treasury.
  • Men can read smaller print than women, women can hear better than men. Women can also smell better than men.
  • Barbie's measurements if she were life size: 39-23-33
  • Cost of raising a medium sized dog to the age of 11: $6,400.
  • Average number of people airborne over the U.S. during any given hour:61,000.
  • The world's youngest parents were 8 & 9 and lived in China in 1910.
  • The youngest Pope was 11 years old.
  • First novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer
  • The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile national monuments.
  • The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time television were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
  • Coca Cola was originally green.
  • Every day more money is printed for monopoly than the US Treasury.
  • Men can read smaller print than women, women can hear better than men. Women can also smell better than men.
  • Barbie's measurements if she were life size: 39-23-33
  • Cost of raising a medium sized dog to the age of 11: $6,400.
  • Average number of people airborne over the U.S. during any given hour:61,000.
  • The world's youngest parents were 8 & 9 and lived in China in 1910.
  • The youngest Pope was 11 years old.
  • First novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer
  • The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile national monuments.
  • Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on 4 JULY: John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on 2 AUG, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.
  • "I am." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
  • The term "whole 9 yards" came from WWII fighter pilots in the South Pacific. When arming their airplanes on the ground, the 50-caliber machine gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet. If the pilots fired all their ammo at a target, it got the "whole 9 yards".
  • The Interstate system was designed so that one mile in every five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.The Interstates official name is The National Defense Highway System.
  • The cruise liner Queen Elizabeth II moves only 6" for each gallon of fuel that it burns.
  • The nursery rhyme Ring Around the Rosey is a rhyme about the bubonic plague. Infected people with the plague would get red circular sores (Ring around the Rosey...). These sores would smell very bad so people would hide flowers on their bodies in an attempt to mask the smell ("pocket full of posies..."). People who died from the plague would be burned to reduce the spread of the disease ("ashes, ashes, we all fall down").

Submitted by Jon, Miamisburg, OH

Go to set 2 of totally useless stuff to know

Return to: Top of Page, Interesting Facts List, My Little Sister's Jokes


The History of the Christmas Carol

What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially that partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not allowed to practice their faith openly.? Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.? It has two levels of meaning; the surface meaning, plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church.? Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality, which the children could remember.
  1. The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
  2. Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
  3. Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
  4. The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
  5. The Five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
  6. The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
  7. Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
  8. The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
  9. Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.
  10. The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.
  11. Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
  12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

So there is your history lesson for today and now you know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol!

Submitted by Tom, Gettysburg, Pa.

Return to: Top of Page, Interesting Facts List, My Little Sister's Jokes


The origin of "taps"

We have all heard the haunting melody of "Taps." It's the song that gives us that lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes. But do you know the story behind the song?
If not, I think you will be pleased to find out about its humble beginnings.

Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing, Virginia. The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.

During the night, Captain Ellisombe heard the moans of a soldier who was severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention.

Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward the encampment. When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light he saw the face of the soldier.

It was his own son!

The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.

The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission to give his son a full military burial despite his enemy status.

His request was only partially granted. The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral. The request was denied since the soldier was a Confederate. But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him one musician.

The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform. This wish was granted.
The haunting melody, which we now know as "Taps" used at military funerals, was born.
 

Go to set: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 

Return to: Top of Page, Interesting Facts List, My Little Sister's Jokes